A few weeks ago I was driving home alone after dark when suddenly my car decided to die. It resurrected then died and then came alive enough for me to make it home and to the mechanic’s the next day.
And there it still sits.
This has changed my life up quite a bit. For one, I’m walking tons more. Yay for involuntary exercise. I’m also taking local transportation, mainly the bus.
I will say that walking and busing and catching rides with people in lieu of driving everywhere is completely different.
It takes much longer to get anywhere that I want to go. The 10 minute walk from my house to the bus stop and then the 11 minute walk from where the bus drops me off to walk to work pretty much guarantees that I’ll be sweaty at the beginning of my day. No worries. Smelling like sweat is my favorite. It makes me feel extra feminine and ready to face the day.
Honestly though, if this is the worst of my troubles then I’m doing just fine. But there are pros and cons, just like most situations in life.
It’s inconvenient for sure. It’s forcing me to have to depend on others and ask for rides, which is not something I enjoy doing. I prefer independence and the option of riding with others instead of being dependent on people or feeling like I’m being needy. That part has been hard and humbling.
Walking and busing instead of driving also provides a lot more opportunity to be observed and called out to by the local men. This part I do not enjoy. The emotions that surface in me from these encounters are things that I’ve struggled with immensely since I began traveling internationally, but I think that blog is for another time.
And yet there are many other aspects to this lifestyle that I quite enjoy.
I feel like my stress level has gone down significantly because I’m not fighting my way through traffic everyday and hunting for a parking spot. If I take the bus I can simply take a seat (if the bus isn’t too full) and relax until I get to my stop.
I get to people watch and take in the island. I can plug in and listen to a podcast or music. Walking and riding give me lots of time alone to think and pray, allowing me more of a space to press into some neglected areas of my life and reconnect with God.
I feel like I have been given a fresh perspective on Penang these past 3 weeks.
Interacting on more of a local level. Having conversations with aunties at the bus stop. Seeing little nooks of beauty on each street that I never noticed while hurriedly driving by. The smells and sounds and faces are more vibrant and real and within my reach and right in my face at times. It’s all a bit more raw.
It’s making me fall more in love with this place and with these people.
When you’re eyeball to eyeball with someone else it’s a whole new ball game. When you feel the heat of the sun and the sweat dripping down your back and then you wash away the dirt from your feet at the end of the day you know you’ve experienced a place on a much more intimate level than if you’d only driven around in your air conditioned car and looked out through the glass windows as the scenery and people quickly passed you by.
While I definitely still want a car I’m am finding a lot to be thankful for during this time.
This perspective shift has been refreshing to say the least. This experience is turning out to be beneficial to my heart and soul. It has caused me to slow down, breathe a little deeper and enjoy the details of my life.
I’m thankful for a Father who knows my needs and takes care of them, even if it’s not the avenue I would’ve chosen for myself. He is good, and I can rest in that.